What is an occupational disease?

As opposed to an immediate injury such as a broken leg, an occupational disease occurs over a period of time. In many cases, the worker is eligible to collect workers compensation benefits for their occupational disease. Because every case is different, it’s important to talk to a workers compensation lawyer to determine your legal options. Though workers compensation benefits may be available to you, some occupational diseases are so severe, or even fatal, that they are insufficient. In these cases, it may be more beneficial to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the employer or third party responsible for causing the disease.

Statute of Limitations

Because an occupational disease is rarely identified at the earliest onset, a worker who sustains this type of injury is not required to report it within two years of first developing the condition. Instead, the statute of limitations to file a claim begins with two years of a positive diagnosis of the occupational disease. In some cases, if the victim passed away before a diagnosis was made, their surviving spouse or dependant children can file an occupational disease claim on the deceased’s behalf. A workers compensation lawyer such as the On The Job Injury Lawyer Hauppauge locals turn to  can provide you with more information if this describes your family’s situation.

Common Examples of Occupational Diseases and Injuries

Even if your medical condition is not on the following list, do not let that deter you from seeking legal guidance from a workers compensation lawyer.

  • Mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and related conditions due to exposure to asbestos. This is common among construction workers and other tradespeople who perform demolition work of some kind.
  • Asthma from breathing particles of dust, wood, metal, and other substances that can damage the respiratory system. Bakers can even suffer from asthma if they regularly inhale particles of flour.
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia or kidney cancer from the inhalation of benzene fumes.
  • Liver and kidney damage or dermatitis from touching or inhaling solvents.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis from breathing cutting oils, common among machine operators.
  • Bronchitis from working with nitrogen oxides, smoke, and acid.
  • Peripheral polyneuropathy after inhalation of organophosphates from pesticide applicators.
  • Chronic encephalopathy from working with lead. This common amongst metal recyclers, painters, radiator repairmen, and bridge workers.
  • Bloodborne infections, including hepatitis B and HIV; and airborne infections such as tuberculosis among healthcare workers.
  • Lung cancer from contact with chromium. Metal platers and welders sometimes contract this disease in this way.
  • Liver cancer from contact with vinyl chloride. Plastic manufacturers are vulnerable to this. They are also subject to developing bladder cancer from contact with benzidine.

Thanks to authors at Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen P.C. for their insight into Worker’s Compensation.